Sunday 31st of May 2020

the nature and the nurture of the beast...


After World War II, the question of how to define a universal human nature took on new urgency. Creatures of Cain charts the rise and precipitous fall in Cold War America of a theory that attributed man’s evolutionary success to his unique capacity for murder.

Drawing on a wealth of archival materials and in-depth interviews, Erika Lorraine Milam reveals how the scientists who advanced this “killer ape” theory capitalized on an expanding postwar market in intellectual paperbacks and widespread faith in the power of science to solve humanity’s problems, even to answer the most fundamental questions of human identity. The killer ape theory spread quickly from colloquial science publications to late-night television, classrooms, political debates, and Hollywood films. Behind the scenes, however, scientists were sharply divided, their disagreements centering squarely on questions of race and gender. Then, in the 1970s, the theory unraveled altogether when primatologists discovered that chimpanzees also kill members of their own species. While the discovery brought an end to definitions of human exceptionalism delineated by violence, Milam shows how some evolutionists began to argue for a shared chimpanzee-human history of aggression even as other scientists discredited such theories as sloppy popularizations.

A wide-ranging account of a compelling episode in American science, Creatures of Cain argues that the legacy of the killer ape persists today in the conviction that science can resolve the essential dilemmas of human nature.

Erika Lorraine Milam is professor of history at Princeton University. She is the author of Looking for a Few Good Males: Female Choice in Evolutionary Biology.


Read more:


This idea, humans' evolutionary success due to their unique capacity for murder — which has been a part of religious beliefs in regard to humans behaving badly in paradise, since the first religious porkies  — expresses the running psychopathy of the individuals and of the mob in fear, and frothed into fear by rutless warmongers. God (the idea of) played a big part in this human delusion. Most individual in species are weary of other individuals and of other species until they can feel safe or reach the status of "top dog" for which they still have to fight for. That humans are able to commit murder (of their own kind) is or isn't exclusive is somewhat irrelevant at this level, because the abilty to commit murder becomes exclusive on the massive power scale and on the stylistic intent(s) developed to justify these murders. The SCALE for murdering possibilities is also exponentially expanded with the creation of weaponries that are way beyond nature, and only our sanity — which is a notch below our psychopathy/sociopathy — can prevent us to use those because we could be hit first, or die together in a glorious moralistic rationale. Imbecilic plus.

Yet, it does not take much poking our self-delusioning to provoke us into anger, then move into "retaliations" that are often fakely concocted by mass hysteria and exploited by the psychos in charge with the help of the forever brown-nosing media.

Unless we keep our eyes tightly on the ball, can we have peace, relatively.

Time for our media to wake up, but they wont.




a good intended war is an oxymoron...


The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy, Stephen M. Walt, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 400 pages

At the end of the Cold War, the United States appeared to be standing on the precipice of a new era of peace and prosperity as the world’s sole superpower. Intoxicated by the sense that American primacy would allow them to remake the world as they wished, U.S. leaders embraced liberal hegemony. They aimed to discourage others from challenging American power and sought to spread democracy and liberal economics within an American sphere of influence that encompassed most of the world.

We can’t know what the world would have looked like if they had chosen a different course. But we do know that, today, relations with Russia and China are bad, and getting worse. There is now open talk of a new Cold War—with both nations, a feat that we mostly managed to avoid in the last Cold War. Meanwhile, nationalist movements are on the rise, and the European Union and other multilateral bodies seem unsteady, at best. And, last but not least, the Middle East remains in turmoil—more than 16 years after George W. Bush sent U.S. troops into Iraq. There is violence and suffering everywhere, it seems—and there is no end in sight.

Indeed, according to a panel of 12 experts commissioned by Congress to review U.S. foreign policy, “the security and wellbeing of the United States are at greater risk than at any time in decades.” The nation, they continue, “confronts a grave crisis”; “the strategic landscape is growing steadily more threatening.” 

In The Hell of Good Intentions, Stephen Walt traces many of these problems to the very policies that these men and women advocate. U.S. power has allowed American officials to pursue ambitious foreign policy goals, even when those goals are unnecessary or doomed to fail. And “liberal hegemony…failed because it rested on mistaken views of how international politics actually works.” In particular, he explains, “it exaggerated America’s ability to reshape other societies and underestimated the ability of weaker actors to thwart U.S. aims.” It also rested on the willingness of the American people to support the strategy indefinitely, even as the costs rose and the benefits became less apparent. 

Although Walt allows that “most foreign policy professionals are genuine patriots who seek to make the world a better place,” as a group they operate as “a dysfunctional caste of privileged insiders who are frequently disdainful of alternative perspectives and insulated both professionally and personally from the consequences of the policies they promote.”

Donald J. Trump seemed to agree. Since the Cold War, he said in late April 2016, as he closed in on the GOP presidential nomination, “foolishness and arrogance…led to one foreign policy disaster after another.” He pledged, if elected, to “look for talented experts with new approaches, and practical ideas,” not “those who have perfect résumés but very little to brag about except responsibility for a long history of failed policies and continued losses at war.”


Read more: